Safety for Children: A Homebuyer’s Guide to Kids’ Rooms and Play Areas
Children alter how families look at homes during the home buying process. A family with children has to consider extra bedrooms, extra bathrooms, and safe places for children to learn and play. Indoor and outdoor recreation should be fun and comfortable, while safety should always remain the highest priority.
Kids’ rooms should be large enough for children to grow in. A tiny room may work for a 6-year-old, but could be terribly cramped for a teenager. Kid’s rooms should include the following:
- Room to grow
- Storage space
- A safe exit for emergencies
Families generally want kids’ rooms on the same level of the house as the master bedroom. While a teenager might accept, or even want, a basement bedroom, small children’s rooms should be close enough for you to access them quickly at night.
Consider the amenities you want in kids’ rooms. Bookcases, closet organizers, and other storage space can be a real asset. Some solutions can be added after the home is purchased, but a house with built-in storage can be a plus.
Safety is also a consideration: In case of fire or similar emergency, you’ll want to make sure that your children will be able to safely escape their bedrooms. Children’s Hospital Boston reports that “over half of children ages five and under who die from home fires are asleep at the time of the fire,” but also that “children in homes without working smoke alarms are at greater risk of fire-related death and injury in the event of a fire.” This means that you should consider several fire escape routes when looking at the bedroom configuration in your prospective home, but you should also carefully assess the number, location, and condition of smoke detectors in your home no matter where the children will sleep.
Family Rooms and Dens
A home with a family room and a separate, more formal living room will let you relax while the kids are watching shows or host guests while your kids enjoy a minefield of Legos® on the floor in the adjacent room. When the children grow older, the toys can be picked up and the family room can become a place for study, arts and crafts, or hanging out with friends. A den can become a home fitness center, a library, or a guest room when your children fly the coop.
Play Sets and Play Areas
Outdoor playsets and play areas can be real bonuses when families with children go house hunting, but always keep safety in mind. Playgrounds and play areas are only an advantage if they are safe areas for children. While your kids may be delighted by a ramshackle tree house, your first thought should be whether or not it’s safe.
Generally speaking, store-bought playsets are safer than DIY play areas slapped together by an inexperienced handyman. Having said that, some amateur-built jungle gyms are well thought-out, inventive, beautifully-constructed, and safe enough for children to use. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) publishes a broad variety of safety information on playground construction, materials, and components.
Orson Klender, Licensed Associate Broker; Keller Williams Real Estate
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